These crows can often be mistaken for other members of the Corvidae family such as rooks and ravens. Carrion crows have glossy all-black feathers, and, unlike rooks, they have an all-black beak with no bare patches, and no visible feathers on their legs. They are smaller than ravens with a longer more slender beak and square tail compared to the ravens pointed. They are often seen on their own or in pairs all around the UK. Carrion crows are monomorphic, meaning that the males and females look identical, and can only be sexed with highly accurate measures. Once they know your garden is safe, they can become frequent garden visitors.
Average Length: 45 - 47cm
Average Lifespan: 4 Years
Average Wingspan: 93-104 cm
Carrion crows are scavengers and will eat almost anything they can get their beaks on from seeds to eggs, and as their names suggests, carrion. They are often disliked as they feed on carcasses, but they play a vital role in the removal of dead material from their habitats and our cities.
How and what to feed them: Carrion crows will eat almost everything you put out from seeds to food scraps. However, having a feeding table will make it easier for them and avoid them damaging your smaller feeders.
Unlike rooks, carrion crows are usually solitary nesters however some populations do cooperate with other pairs when nesting. They build large, rugged nests out of any material they can find such as sticks, bones and rags. They lay a single clutch of 3-4 eggs at the beginning of April which they incubate for 18-20 days, the hatchlings then remain in the nest for around 30 more days before fledging.
Carrion crows are successful all over the UK and face few threats. However, carrion crows are often persecuted due to damage they can cause to livestock and crops. In the UK it is legal to trap and kill carrion crows with a licence. With the definition of livestock being expanded to include gamebirds, persecution of carrion crows is likely to increase. While evidence suggests that crows have a minor impact on prey populations there is some evidence that they can impact the productivity of prey species.
Corvids (including crows) are known for their intelligence and have been shown to solve simple problems, use tools and recognise human faces and voices.